Week One (and a bit)

It’s hard to describe what’s happened in the UK in the last week (and a bit). Although many of us had kept half an eye on developments in China and around the world, the speed and scale of changes to life in this country came as a massive shock.

Seems like those ‘tin foil hat’ people might be right about a few things.

I think it may be useful, at least to me, to write a record of my thoughts and feelings at this unprecedented – a word that is currently being blared from every screen – time. In years to come this will be a memory, a historical event that people will study and ask each other ‘do you remember?’ I want to remember, and as my memory is lousy it’s better to write it down.

Except… I can’t. In some ways life is pretty normal, it’s just that I’m working from home all the time and the child is not at school. But there’s an eerie quiet everywhere due to much lower levels of traffic. Being put in a queue to access the Morrisons online shopping site is weird.

We’re tuning in pretty regularly to the nightly government press conferences, but I expect at this point in time there won’t be much happening as serious measures – a pretty strict lockdown – have already been put in place. We’ll just hear of COVID-19 cases climbing steadily higher. We’ve also found some good (and local) online faith resources. Mark Umpleby from Batley is doing night prayers at 9PM each night on Facebook which is very calming at the end of each fraught day. People are pulling together, it seems.

Not all people. My young friend Josh who is a security guard at a small supermarket told me he was assaulted yesterday trying to enforce a “only 5 people in the shop at once” policy. Still, it feels many people are being patient and kind – and the stories of individual acts of compassion and downright bravery (especially in the NHS) are humbling.

There is hope, although as I write it seems like a long way off.